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posted by martyb on Tuesday June 05 2018, @07:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-worry...-just-take-two-Bayer®-asprin-and...-oh,-wait dept.

Monsanto, a brand name activists love to hate, will disappear as Bayer takes over:

These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead.

And soon Monsanto will be no more. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant and pesticide powerhouse, announced in 2016 it would be buying Monsanto in an all-cash deal for more than $60 billion. Now, as the merger approaches, Bayer has confirmed what many suspected: In the merger, the politically charged name "Monsanto" will be disappearing. The combined company will be known simply as Bayer, while product names will remain the same. The move is not exactly a surprise — it makes sense that Bayer might want to weed out some of the intense negative associations associated with the Monsanto brand. In a way, it's an indication of how successful anti-Monsanto protesters have been in shaping public perception.

In the company's latest statement, Bayer implicitly acknowledged how hostile debates over genetically modified crops and other agricultural products have become. "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," the chairman of Bayer's board of management, Werner Baumann, said in the statement. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It's the only way to build bridges."

Also at Reuters.

Previously: Bayer AG Offers to Buy Monsanto
Bayer Purchases Monsanto for Around $66 Billion

Roundup: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
RoundUp Glyphosate Found to Cause Kidney Failure and Elude Tests
Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
GMO Grass That 'Escaped' Defies Eradication, Divides Grass Seed Industry
Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by aim on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:18AM (22 children)

    by aim (6322) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:18AM (#688759)

    ... the name "Bayer" will be just as reviled as "Monsanto" currently is.

    Unless they actually do change for the better, which I doubt.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by driverless on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:23AM (3 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:23AM (#688762)

    Exactly. Same shit, different assholes.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:42AM (#688773)

    Well, Bayer is German... and it's legal system has been shown not as crazy as the US one. So, will Monsantos products now start to fall under German/European law, which has been more strict regarding pesticides and GMOs? All depends on what happens with Monsanto as entity in the long term.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:43AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @08:43AM (#688775)
    In 1925 Bayer became part of the IG Farben conglomerate, and this at the time largest chemical company in the world became infamous for many atrocities during the Nazi era. They produced Zyklon B for use during the Final Solution, made extensive use of slave labour, and performed human experimentation on the inmates of various concentration camps. The company was broken up by the Allies at the end of the war, and Bayer re-emerged as one of the successor companies that inherited many of its assets. For a time they had a convicted war criminal as their chairman of the board.
    • (Score: 1, Troll) by unauthorized on Tuesday June 05 2018, @01:48PM (6 children)

      by unauthorized (3776) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @01:48PM (#688843)

      194x Bayer has nothing to do with 2018 Bayer. Everyone who was involved with the Third Reich is either dead or infirm, stop guilt mongering people for something that happened before they were born.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 05 2018, @02:16PM (5 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @02:16PM (#688863) Homepage Journal

        So, you don't think the executives, management, and senior workers from 1945 passed on any of their culture? Interesting. I wonder where our culture came from, here in the US? Or the cultures of any large corporation?

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:01PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:01PM (#688902)

          Like the culture of IBM helping the Nazis that rubbed off on Google pandering to repressive regimes?

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:26PM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:26PM (#688913) Homepage Journal

            Not sure how serious you are. IBM's culture didn't change drastically during, or after World War Two. They remain a mercenary bunch, who will do pretty much anything for profit. They've been beaten a time or two, by someone with more foresight - such as Bill Gates. They've dropped the ball a few times, and maybe missed opportunities. But, they will do anything that makes them a profit. The culture remains.

            Google? I'm not really into prophesying, but, if I were pressed, I might predict that Google will one day replace IBM.

            And, don't forget to pick up your free copy of Google's Centennial Edition, "Google History: Do No Evil".

            --
            "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
            • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:48PM

              by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:48PM (#688992)

              They remain a mercenary bunch, who will do pretty much anything for profit.

              That could be said about the great majority of corporations.

              --
              Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by unauthorized on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:02PM (1 child)

          by unauthorized (3776) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:02PM (#688904)

          So, you don't think the executives, management, and senior workers from 1945 passed on any of their culture?

          As much as the Nazis passed on their political culture to their successor political class. I'm sure if you look hard enough you are likely to find some influences dating back that far, but the influences of modern corporate culture and modern society in general are considerably more significant.

          Nice strawman, by the way.

          I wonder where our culture came from, here in the US?

          Home-grown, it's not like you didn't have your fair share of scumbags back in the 30s. The larger and more detached of human interaction a power structure becomes, the more amoral and oppressive it turns. This is purely a function of the accumulation of power, it has happened everywhere through human history regardless of the underlying social, political or economic structure.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:33PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:33PM (#688917) Homepage Journal

            Not entirely homegrown. We've borrowed a lot of stuff from a lot of other cultures, including Native American cultures. But, our culture is firmly rooted in 1600's - 1800's English culture. Yeah, we continue to change and grow, but - remember the "British Invasion", aka, The Beatles? We emulate them, they emulate us, etc ad nauseum. Bearing that in mind, England's culture has roots in the old nature worshipping cultures, as well as ancient Rome, and most of Europe's nations.

            America's culture didn't just spring up, out of nothing.

            --
            "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05 2018, @04:37PM (#688921)

      well that's the official story anyways...

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday June 05 2018, @09:04AM (3 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @09:04AM (#688781)

    They pulled that shit before. Remember, Bayer really is IG Farben [wikipedia.org], a company that everybody really, REALLY hated after WWII. From the Wikipedia page:

    During World War II, IG Farben used slave labor in factories that it built adjacent to German concentration camps, notably Auschwitz,[27] and the sub-camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.[28] IG Farben purchased prisoners for human experimentation of a sleep-inducing drug and later reported that all test subjects died.[29][30] IG Farben employees frequently said, "If you don’t work faster, you’ll be gassed."[31] IG Farben held a large investment in Degesch which produced Zyklon B used to gas and kill prisoners during the Holocaust.[32]

    After World War II, the Allies broke up IG Farben and Bayer reappeared as an individual business "inheriting" many of IG Farben's assets.[29] Fritz ter Meer, an IG Farben board member from 1926 to 1945 who directed operations at the IG Farben plant at Auschwitz, was sentenced to seven years in prison during the IG Farben Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was elected Bayer's supervisory board head in 1956.[33]

    In 1995, Helge Wehmeier, the head of Bayer Corporation, publicly apologized to Elie Wiesel for the company's involvement in the Holocaust at a lecture in Pittsburgh.[34]

    After the Monsanto name is buried, it'll be business as usual and people will forget - just like they forgot about IG Farben...

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Hartree on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:39PM

      by Hartree (195) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:39PM (#688945)

      Beat me to it, Rosco. :)

      I was going to make a joke that in order to avoid controversy, Bayer was renaming its Monsanto Division to I.G. Farben and it's best selling insecticide to Cyclone Beta.

      (Does this count as a Godwin? Yeah, I think it does...)

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:09PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:09PM (#688968) Journal

      After the Monsanto name is buried, it'll be business as usual and people will forget - just like they forgot about IG Farben...

      This isn't some fly-by-night scam operation where it costs a few hundred dollars to move the business over to a new name. Monsanto probably spent more on branding than they ever did on fines for wrongdoing. That's all lost.

      As to these brand names, what really is the point of remembering them? It's not the brand that matters, but the activity. And the usual groups will remain focused on that for good and ill.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:21PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:21PM (#688976) Journal

      Remember, Bayer really is IG Farben

      From the linked Wikipedia page, emphasis by me:

      Bayer became part of IG Farben, a German chemical company conglomerate, in 1925.

      Looking at the page about IG Farben [wikipedia.org] (a different page than the one you linked from that word), you'll find:

      IG Farben was founded on 9 December 1925, as a merger of the following six companies:[3]

      • BASF
      • Bayer
      • Hoechst (including Cassella and Chemische Fabrik Kalle)
      • Agfa
      • Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron
      • Chemische Fabrik vorm. Weiler Ter Meer

      And later:

      Due to the company's entanglement with the Nazi regime, it was considered by the Allies to be too morally corrupt to be allowed to continue to exist. […] In 1951, the company was split into its original constituent companies. The four largest quickly bought the smaller ones.

      So while Bayer certainly was involved in IG Farben and its crimes, it is far from accurate that it is IG Farben. And in particular it is not correct to claim in that respect that

      They pulled that shit before.

      where “that shit” refers to intentionally getting rid of a name in order to get rid of its negative connotations.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday June 05 2018, @11:56AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @11:56AM (#688805)

    Bayer has been killing the honeybees for over a decade now...

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-state-tv-ukraine-war-dirty-bomb-putin-1754428
  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:53PM (1 child)

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:53PM (#688955) Journal

    If you've been paying attention, you will already dislike and distrust anything with the brand Bayer attached to it. I won't even buy their aspirin anymore, and that's not a political protest, it's self defense. Their attitude is, broadly speaking, "We're Bayer, we don't have to care.".

    I do think that they used to make quality chemicals. These days I wouldn't trust them without a secondary analysis...which usually isn't worthwhile.
    (No they aren't the only company like that. But they're one of the larger ones.)

    --
    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday June 05 2018, @11:53PM

      by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @11:53PM (#689079)

      So they are definitely not Care Bayers.....

      Ok, I'm leaving now......please don't throw things....

      --
      Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08 2018, @04:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08 2018, @04:34PM (#690381)

    Oh please! Stop with the SJW crap! Watch their market price and executive pay rates and tell me how "reviled" they are.